S. Korea freezes under arctic cold snap

December 20, 2023

An arctic cold snap swept across the country Thursday, sending apparent temperatures in Seoul to minus 22 C on the coldest morning of the season, amid forecasts the cold will continue through Friday.

Temperatures plunged to minus 24.7 C in Cheorwon County, bordering North Korea, minus 20.6 C in the nearby county of Hwacheon, and minus 18.4 C at the Daegwallyeong Pass, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

Seoul recorded minus 14.4 C, with apparent temperatures as low as minus 22 C, the KMA said.

Heavy snowfall of 1 to 5 centimeters per hour was continuing to affect the southern island of Jeju, South Jeolla Province and the west coast of South Chungcheong Province as of 8 a.m., where a heavy snow warning was issued earlier.

Snow will continue throughout the day in the regions and until Friday for Jeju island, where some mountainous regions in the area will see snow accumulate to over 60 cm, the weather agency said.

As of 5 a.m., other major cities recorded temperatures below the freezing point, with minus 12.8 C in Incheon, 27 km west of Seoul, minus 11.9 C in the central city of Daejeon, minus 6.7 C in Gwangju and minus 6.5 C in Busan.

The KMA said the cold is expected to continue through Friday.

The KMA issued the cold wave advisory across Seoul, Gyeonggi, Gangwon and some parts of the Chungcheong provinces as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, and the interior ministry upped the heavy snow warning to the third-highest level in the four-tier system the previous day.

The government earlier issued the second-highest warning after a heavy snow advisory was issued for the country’s southern regions.